Injuries play a key part in our decision making process for daily fantasy games. The opportunity created for low cost players on offense and the matchup opportunities to exploit on defense can be the difference between winning and losing. This article will try to list all the injuries that could create value for your fantasy rosters and the likelihood that each event will occur.
Alshon Jefferey (WR- Chicago) – Alshon looks to be ready to roll again this weekend. He practiced on a limited basis Wednesday but is expected to practice in full on Thursday and Friday according to multiple beat writers.
LATEST NEWS: Despite the news earlier in the week, it seems Jefferey will be out again here. There is no need to rush him back with the Bears season looking likely to go nowhere.
Sammy Watkins (WR- Buffalo) – Reports from ESPN’s Mike Rodak confirm that Rex Ryan said that Sammy Watkins is pretty much definite to miss the week 4 game. Robert Wood and Kelly Hogan will see an increased workload in his absence.
LeSean McCoy (RB- Buffalo) – In that same radio interview, Rex also said the same thing about McCoy. Everyone is already talking about it, but Karlos Williams at near min price would be a very popular pick if that was indeed the case.
Jerricho Cotchery (WR- Carolina) – Cotchery is out again. Devin Funchess will see more field time, but the targets will probably go more towards guys like Ginn and Olsen as they have been.
Jay Cutler (QB- Bears) – The Bears did have Cutler out there to throw some passes in practice, but he was very limited. He is targeted for a week 5 return, so we should see at least one more start for Jimmy Clausen this week in a solid match up for him.
Tevin Coleman (RB- Atlanta) – Coleman has a rib injury that is still bothering him. He sat out practice Wednesday and is more likely to sit Sunday than he is to play. Devonte Freeman had a huge game in week 3 and should continue to see 20+ touches if Coleman is out or severely limited.
LATEST NEWS: Coleman has already been ruled out for this game with his rib injury. It looks like Devonta Freeman will see a huge workload again, which means he is someone you have to consider. He should see 20+ touches, which makes any lower cost back a good play based on the sheer volume he will see.
Who is just hurt? Names to keep an Eye on
Drew Brees (QB- Saints) – He practiced on Wednesday and took most of the snaps with the first team. Brees is itching to get back at it and said he feels really good about his chances of playing this weekend. If Brees can go, he likely will, so I expect to see him back in there if he is practicing in full by the end of the week. Luke McCown was solid last week though, so it’s nice to know the Saints back up plan is not too bad if Drew were to go down again.
LATEST NEWS: Brees has been upgraded to probable and he says everything is feeling fine. The total in this game is pretty high and Vegas has a nice prop for yardage for Brees. This is good news for both him and anyone who catches passes for New Orleans. He could be a solid upside play at sneaky low ownership coming off the injury.
John Brown (WR – Arizona) – Brown sat out practice Wednesday with a shoulder issue that has been bothering him. He is on track to play this weekend according to coach Bruce Arians, but it’s a situation worth keeping an eye on.
LATEST NEWS: Brown was limited again on Friday, but his playing status is not really in doubt. He is probable to play Sunday and it would be a shock if he sat out.
Andre Ellington (RB- Arizona) – It looks like Ellington is a coin flip at the moment. If he is out, we should continue to see Chris Johnson with some David Johnson mixed in. If he plays, it will be interesting to see what the word is on his availability and workload. It will definitely hurt the prospects for both of the other backs if he does.
LATEST NEWS: ESPN is reporting that Ellington is in barring a set back, but his coach is still calling him a game time decision. Their are rumblings that even if he does play, he will be playing second fiddle to Chris Johnson and receive a light workload, so my best guess is to stay away from that entire RB situation in Arizona.
Josh McCown (QB- Cleveland) – McCown has a little swelling in his hand, likely from hitting it on the helmet of one of his lineman during a throw last Sunday. It’s not a big deal and he is very likely to play. Sorry Johnny Football fans.
LATEST NEWS: Practiced in full all week and is good to go with no issue’s.
Brandon Pettigrew (TE- Detroit) – His status is still uncertain. Eric Ebron has really shined in his absence though. The second year TE has reminded everyone why he was a top pick. Ebron played 90% of the snaps and has scored double digit points in each game so far this year. He is definitely an intriguing cheap TE option if Pettigrew is out again.
LATEST NEWS: This one is still up in the air. The main thing is that Eric Ebron has played well enough in his absence to grab a firm hold of the TE1 spot in Detroit. He may see a few less snaps if Pettigrew does play, but he’s still going to see the majority of them either way. Pettigrew is not in play and I would not tick down Ebron much anyway even if he happens to be in.
DeVante Adams (WR- Green Bay) – Adams has a high ankle sprain and was in a walking boot on Wednesday at practice. Early speculation is that he will not play Sunday and Ty Montgomery will replace him. The targets seem to be heading in the direction of James Jones and Randall Cobb though, so I would expect that to continue.
LATEST NEWS: Although he is still listed as questionable, the word is that “Barring a miraculous recovery” he will sit. That is not exactly inspiring rhetoric coming out of Green Bay, so it looks likely he will not play. Ty Montgomery would see the uptick in snaps, but the volume still seems to be going to Jones and Cobb who will likely benefit most from Devante’s absence.
Eddie Lacy (RB- Green Bay) – Lacy practiced in full today which he has not done in recent weeks. He says he is fully healthy and expects the Lion’s share of the workload again after being limited in recent games and letting Starks pick up some of the slack. Looks like it could be time to get Lacy back on the radar.
LATEST NEWS: Lacy indeed practiced in full all week. He says the injury is behind him and he should be an every down back again with the big hit coming to the snaps for James Stark. Lacy is cheaper than he has been in awhile and has a good match up with his team as the favorite. We could see a big game from him at low cost and low ownership based off this news.
Arian Foster (RB- Houston) – Foster is listed as the dreaded game time decision. One beat reporter seemed positive about his chances of playing and another was saying he would be kept out until next week, so I got nothing either way for you guys here. We will all have to just wait and see what news comes out. Alfred Blue, Jonathon Grimes, and Chris Polk have all seen carries in his absence. Good luck sorting through that mess if you are inclined to play a Texans RB.
LATEST NEWS: This is a very tricky one. He has been cleared Medically, but still is experiencing some pain which is why they list him as a game time decision. Houston also plays Thursday this week, which has many thinking they rest him and bring him back for that game so he does not have to carry the heavy load twice in five days. If he is in, the Texans will look to feed him, which changes the whole pace scenario for that game. If he remains out, we could again see a 40-50 attempt day from the Texans passing attack. The news will have a major impact on usage and projections for that Falcons/Texans game so it is one you should definitely continue to monitor. I don’t like the Texans running backs at all outside of Foster, but it would tick down the passing game if he did play as they would be more balanced. That would hurt a guy like DeAndre Hopkins who has seen massive targets in the pass happy offense while Foster was sidelined.
Andrew Luck (QB- Indianapolis) – Luck is dealing with a shoulder issue and did not attempt a pass in Wednesday’s practice. The news is he will play Sunday, but it is definitely concerning. Matt Hasselback ran with the first team on Wednesday and would be his replacement if things are worse then they are letting on.
LATEST NEWS: Luck was still limited in Friday’s practice, but coach Chuck Pagano basically assured he will play. It’s obvious he is not 100% yet, so I’m not sure he is a guy I would roll out there. The bigger questions surround what to do with his pass catchers? Moncrief and Hilton are guys who have solid prices this week and a decent match up. If you think Luck is healthy enough to get them the ball, then roll them out. If not, stay away from all aspects of this passing game.
Dwayne Allen (TE- Indianapolis) – Allen sat out again Wednesday and his status is still doubtful for Sunday. If he is out again, Coby Fleener will continue to soak up all the snaps and targets the two usually split.
LATEST NEWS: Allen practiced all week, but reports say he is still not there yet as far as playing shape. He is a game time decision, but will be limited if he does play. I think you have to hold off on using him and it also hurts Coby Fleener if Allen does play at all.
Allen Hurns (WR- Jacksonville) – Hurns has been dealing with an injury to his thigh all season. He is still likely to play, so unless that changes I would not get too crazy about it.
LATEST NEWS: Hurns is in and should be a guy worth looking at. The Jags are a big underdog, so they should be forced to throw. With Vontae Davis likely shadowing Allen Robinson, Hurns should be able to exploit his positive match up on the other side and see a lot of targets. He makes for a nice sneaky option at a low cost.
Jordan Cameron (TE- Miami) – He has a thigh bruise that kept him questionable for last week’s game too. He is very likely just resting it up and plans to play in the London game against the Jets this weekend. Unless he has a setback, I would consider him in, but not 100%, which would have me staying away.
LATEST NEWS: He is questionable still, but he was last week too and played through it. He saw eight targets in that game, so he should be in line for a decent workload if he is in again.
Charles Johnson (WR- Vikings) – Johnson is dealing with a rib issue that had him limited in his last game. He tried to play through it, but was not able to. That leaves his status for this weekend very much in question. Minnesota could use him as they will probably be throwing at some point against Denver, so it would be a big blow if he was out.
LATEST NEWS: Johnson has been ruled out for the Week 4 game. Cordarelle Patterson will get the start in his place, but none of that should matter against a strong Broncos defense.
Brandin Cooks (WR- Saints) – Cook was limited in practice with the same ankle injury that has bothered him for a week or two. With that said, he is very likely to be in uniform on Sunday, so I would not worry too much.
LATEST NEWS: He was a full participant in Friday’s practice and is good to go. With Brees back too, we could finally see him have the game many people have been waiting to see out of him.
Victor Cruz (WR- Giants) – Giants fans were waiting with open arms to welcome the salsa dancing Cruz back into their lives, but after running some drills on Wednesday, it appears he is not ready to go yet. What looked like a foregone conclusion of him playing, now looks very very doubtful again.
LATEST NEWS: Really bad turn for Cruz here. Not only is he out this week, but he had an injection of PRP (platelet rich plasma), which usually takes 2-6 weeks to kick in according to reports in the New York Daily News. That would mean he may be out at least a few more weeks while recovering from his injury. Rueben Randle will continue to see a lot of snaps and the targets will go to him and Beckham as they have been with Shane Vereen picking up some slack as well.
DeMarco Murray (RB- Philadelphia) – DeMarco was limited in practice today, much as he was last Thursday. This one will require monitoring up until game time. Both Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles had good performances in his absence, so it is definitely worth watching to see if those guys might be in play if he sits again.
LATEST NEWS: Murray practiced in full the last two days. He also practiced in full last Friday and was out on Sunday after testing the ankle. It looks like that will be the way they go about making a final decision for this week as well. I would not look to use Murray, but if he is out again, Sproles and Ryan Matthews get bumped up, so that is what I would watch for.
Ladarius Green (TE- San Diego) – Green missed last week’s game and was out of practice on Wednesday after suffering his second concussion this season. He has yet to pass the League’s test and will not be allowed to play until he is cleared through the concussion protocol.
LATEST NEWS: He was a limited participant on Wednesday and Thursday before practicing in full on Friday. He still has one last hurdle to clear in the concussion protocol before he is able to play. He is still listed as questionable until he clears it, so pay attention for any news we hear Saturday night into Sunday morning.
Marshawn Lynch (RB- Seattle) – ESPN reports that Lynch is at best a 50/50 proposition to play this week. They do not officially practice until tomorrow since they played Monday night, but if he is out, then Thomas Rawls looks to be the guy who will see the workload. Fred Jackson is the sexy name being thrown about, but Rawls should be the big beneficiary with Jackson spelling him and taking some third down work.
LATEST NEWS: Lynch is more likely not to play according to reports, but nothing is official yet. Thomas Rawls is the likely swerve if Lynch is going to be out, which means it might make sense to leave some cap room on Monday night and play Lynch with a cheaper option at TE or WR in the flex. This way if he is out you can switch over to Rawls and still have a chance to upgrade to someone else with the massive cost savings between the two backs.
Reggie Bush (RB- San Francisco) – Bush was a full participant in practice Wednesday and looks ready to go for week 4. He will definitely steal third down work and likely will also take a few carries from Carlos Hyde. This is a huge blow to Hyde owners as he is no longer going to be a workhorse.
LATEST NEWS: Bush practiced all week and is probable to go Sunday. How much work he sees is going to be the issue. He will likely not see enough to make him an option, but he should see enough to hurt Carlos Hyde’s upside. That is the big take away from this news for me in fantasy.
Vernon Davis (TE- San Francisco) – Davis missed the second half of Sunday’s game and Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury. His status is still uncertain early in the week, so this is worth looking into and seeing how it plays out.
LATEST NEWS: Davis missed practice Friday and is likely out for Sunday. It does not look good for him to play. San Fran will likely be trailing in this game too, so while I doubt the targets get sucked up by another TE, they could be distributed to guys like Boldin on the outside and Bush/Hyde out of the backfield.
Kenny Britt (WR- St. Louis) – Britt played well on Sunday and recorded 100 yards receiving. He sat out Wednesday with the shoulder injury that has bothered him, but looks likely to play this weekend.
LATEST NEWS: The good news is that Britt is likely to play. The other news is that Brian Quick is coming back too, so that should make Britt harder to double team. The bad news is they play a very solid Cardinals defense who have corners playing well and a pass rush that is getting pressure. It will not be an easy day for Foles and the entire offense is likely to have a rough game.
Desean Jackson (WR- Washington) – He sat out practice again Wednesday and looks doubtful for Sunday. He was originally supposed to be out 3-4 weeks and it’s only been two, so there is very little optimism we see him Sunday.
LATEST NEWS: We pretty much expected him to be out, so that was not a surprise. What was a surprise is the reports he is not even close to playing. We may not see D Jax for a few ore weeks now, so Garcon and Reed should continue to see a ton of targets when the Redskins do pass.
Eric Decker (WR- Jets) – Decker sat out practice Wednesday and is looking doubtful again for the weekend. Rookie Devin Smith seemed to be the guy who saw a lot of field time, but the targets are still going heavily to Brandon Marshall and I would expect to see that continue. Without Decker and Ivory the offense struggled to get anything going against Philly, so hopefully they can do better this weekend.
LATEST NEWS: The good news is he ran some routes and did some limited practice stuff on Friday. The Jets play in London early Sunday morning though and Decker is a true game time decision. If you rolled him out on Thursday rosters, just check his status before the game. If you are playing Sunday only slates, most of them start at 1 PM, so you would not be able to use him anyway.
Chris Ivory (RB- Jets) – Last week he was announced in and did not see a snap despite being dressed and on the sideline. I hate when that happens, because we know can not trust anything coach Todd Bowles says. He was limited in practice on Wednesday and I would not trust him until I see him back in the game after the situation from last weekend.
LATEST NEWS: He practiced in full the last two days and is now listed as probable. He should be in there, but remember he was listed as active last week, dressed, and saw zero snaps. It hurts the workload of Bilal Powell if he is in, but I also think he wll yield a few carries to Powell. If so, he would not be a guy who is in play for this match up.